Applications giant, Microsoft yesterday launched its internet music broadcasting service, which it hopes will pave the way for a full-blown subscription service.

The move comes just days after competitor Real Networks unveiled plans to launch its subscription-based service. Many companies are now jumping on this pseudo-Napster bandwagon.

"The Napster fiasco has highlighted the popularity of such song swapping sites," said a spokesperson at Microsoft. "The more companies that provide these services, the more choice for consumers."

But Microsoft will face tough competition from the new subscription-based Napster, which is currently ironing out a deal with music producer Bertelsmann.